Open Container One of Charges for Man who Head-butts Patrol Car

open container for head-butting man

Photo: SimplyElke

A man was arrested in Davis County on Wednesday, March 11, after allegedly smashing a window in a patrol car with his head and threatening law enforcement, among other things. While the man received a laundry list of potential charges which aren’t as common—both felonies and misdemeanors—the charge of having an open container in the vehicle is one that occurs a little more frequently.

A Perfect Example of “Disorderly Conduct”

According to a report in KSL News, at approximately 10:30 p.m. on Wednesday night, a Clinton patrol officer stopped Randy Duane Ochsner, 54, and was soon assisted by a Davis County Sheriff’s Office deputy. Believing Ochsner to be driving impaired—but not yet having discovered the open container… or other things in the vehicle which would get Ochsner in trouble—a field sobriety test was conducted during which Ochsner became agitated. After being cuffed against the passenger side of the patrol car, things just got worse.

According to Sgt. DeeAnn Servey, “He became very upset and decided to bash his forehead into the passenger rear window of the Davis County Sheriff’s patrol car, which led to the window completely shattering and several injuries to his face.”

When medical personnel responded, Ochsner was still reportedly belligerent, attempting to kick one of the EMTs and spit on both health care workers and responding officers, the latter of which landed him a “propelling a bodily substance” assault charge.

In addition, while traveling to a local hospital, Ochsner allegedly threatened to shoot one of the deputies in the head. After treatment for his injuries, Ochsner was transported to the David County Jail. A search of his vehicle turned up drug paraphernalia and controlled substances, which lead to possession charges for both.

In addition to those charges and propelling a bodily substance, Ochsner was arrested on suspicion of assaulting an officer, interference with an arresting officer, making terroristic threats, criminal mischief, failure to install an ignition interlock device, being an alcohol restricted driver, driving under the influence with two or more prior convictions within 10 years, and having an open container in the vehicle.

Understanding the Open Container Law

While the least serious of Ochsner’s charges, having an open container is a charge many people come face-to-face with, sometimes simply for not understanding the law. According to 41-6a-526 of the Utah Motor Vehicles Traffic Code, “a person may not drink any alcoholic beverage while operating a motor vehicle or while a passenger in a motor vehicle, whether the vehicle is moving, stopped, or parked on any highway or waters of the state.”

This section of the open container code also states that a person may not have a container with a seal that has been broken or contents partially consumed in the passenger compartment, including a utility of glove compartment, even if they aren’t driving impaired.

Exceptions for both the drinking and possession of an open container are made for passengers in the living quarters of a motor home or camper, a limousine or chartered bus, or in a motorboat. While drinking in a taxicab or bus is still prohibited, possession of an open container in those vehicles is legal.

Breaking this section of the traffic code is a class C misdemeanor, punishable by up to 90 days in jail and a $750 fine. Even though class C is the least serious of the misdemeanors, it’s still not something to gamble with. If you or someone you know has been charged with being in possession of an open container, contact an experienced criminal defense attorney.

Pantless Man Charged with Lewdness, Intoxication, and More

pantless man gets lewdness charges

Photo: Sarah Marie Jones/Wikimedia Commons

Early Saturday morning, Feb. 7, an intoxicated man entered an apartment near a party he had been attending wearing nothing below the waist but a pair of socks. The man was chased by police and arrested for lewdness and other charges.

Several Drinks Too Many

Some parties require the attendees to turn in their keys to ensure no drunk driving incidents, but apparently Austin Jeffery Noble, 21, took this one step further and simply surrendered his pants.

According to a report from KSL News, sometime before 4 a.m. on Saturday, Feb. 7, Noble left a party he was attending and wandered into a nearby apartment wearing nothing more than a hooded sweatshirt, bowtie, and socks. Enter the first potential charges for criminal trespass, burglary, and lewdness.

The arrest affidavit states that at this point, he laid down next to a sleeping 17-year-old girl and began touching her inappropriately. Next potential charges of forcible sex abuse. The girl woke up, and after she and her sister confronted Noble, he fled the apartment.

When police showed up, they found Noble still without his pants. A brief foot pursuit occurred (next charge: failure to stop at the command of a police officer) before police caught up with him. Noble claimed that he didn’t remember anything before the foot chase. A breathalyzer test showed Noble’s BAC at .209, more than twice the legal limit, and added on intoxication to his list of charges. Noble was booked into the Davis County Jail.

No Pants Equals Lewdness

According to Utah Criminal Code 76-9-902, lewdness is defined as an act not amounting to rape, sodomy, aggravated sexual assault, or forcible sexual abuse (which is already on the list for Noble) but which will still cause affront or alarm to one who is over 14 years old. This may include an act of sexual intercourse or sodomy (in the presence of the minor), masturbating, or in the case of Noble, exposing the genitals, female breast below the areola, buttocks, anus, or pubic area.

Lewdness is considered a class B misdemeanor on the first or second conviction, punishable by up to six months in jail and a fine of up to $1,000. However, on the third conviction, or if the person is already a sex offender, lewdness becomes a third degree felony, punishable up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000.

If you or someone you know has been charged with lewdness, contact an experienced criminal defense attorney who knows the law and will look out for your best interests.

Man Arrested for DUI After Hitting Sheriff’s Vehicle

DUI charges

Photo: Weber County Sheriff’s Office/KSL News

Icy roads were to blame for many accidents on Saturday, Jan. 10, but it was driving under the influence (DUI) that landed one man in jail. Other charges included drug possession and leaving the scene of an accident.

“Wrong Place at the Wrong Time” Doesn’t Mean You can Leave

According to a report from KSL News, on Saturday evening, Weber County Sheriff’s deputies were called to the scene of several accidents in Ogden Canyon near 4500 East, just east of the Pineview Reservoir spillway. Four vehicles had slid off the road due primarily to the icy conditions (the DUI would come shortly). Fortunately only minor injuries were reported, however, deputies were on the scene to shut down State Route 39 while road crews could put down salt and sand.

At approximately 10:40 p.m., one deputy had his patrol pickup truck parked with his overhead flashers on to stop oncoming traffic when another pickup truck came around a corner at high speed, lost control, and crashed into the back of the deputy’s vehicle. The driver of the truck sped off, and the deputy was able to pursue in the damaged vehicle, catching him near the spillway.

The driver of the truck, Bruce Southwick, was arrested for investigation of DUI, drug possession, and leaving the scene of an accident.

DUI Severity Depends on Circumstances

While most people think of a DUI as referring to alcohol, according to Utah Code 41-6a-502, a person is guilty of a DUI if he/she is driving “under the influence of alcohol, any drug, or the combined influence of alcohol and any drug to a degree that renders the person incapable of safely operating a vehicle.” Given the fact that Southwick also was charged for drug possession, this is probably the case.

The lowest charge for a DUI is a class B misdemeanor, even on a second offense. It goes up to a class A misdemeanor if the driver inflicts “bodily injury” on another, had a passenger under 16 years of age, or was 21 years of age or older with a passenger under 18 years of age. The charge jumps to a third degree felony if the driver inflicts “serious bodily injury” or has two or more prior convictions within ten years.

Even the lowest charge of a class B misdemeanor can result in jail time of up to six months and a fine of up to $1,000. If you or someone you know has been charged with a DUI, don’t leave your defense in the hands of a public defender. Contact an experienced criminal defense attorney who will have your best interests in mind.